Protection on the Road: Can Truck Drivers Carry Guns?
Every time a trucker goes behind the wheels, he or she is always at risk. Truck driving is the 7th most dangerous occupation in the United States. This is because 40% of all job deaths are related to transportation accidents. Besides road accidents, truckers are also facing dangers with other elements on the road. Assaults, cargo thefts, hijacking, and smash-and-grab are very rampant. The valuable loads they carried on their trucks make them a prime target among criminals. This makes us ponder: Can truckers carry guns for protection?
Common Threats to Truck Drivers on the Road beside Road Accidents
Truck stops are generally safe. But even in the safest pit stop, personal arguments and differences may result in violence. Truck drivers are more prone to these types of altercations because they are commonly lonely and tired on a long trip. As such, they are quick-tempered or more likely to argue with another person. These can highly result in a personal assault or a violent fight.
Robbers are everywhere and they are smart enough to use different methods of cargo thefts. In some cases, a group of robbers riding motorcycles will distract truck drivers and cause them to slow down. Some burglars will manage to go into the trailers, cut the tarpaulins and throw the loads out of the truck. In other cases, they will attack in the wee hours of the night while truck drivers are asleep. They can manage to open the trailers and unload the goods without anyone noticing it. But when the truck drivers discover the cargo thefts, robbers are ready to hurt anyone that gets over their way.
Truck hijacking is a much-organized crime. The majority of them involve an insider within the trucking company. Hijackers know the route very well and the value of the loads a trucker carries. Through the feeds of an insider, they know when to attack the truck driver and take command of the truck. They are also known to use signal jammers to prevent truck drivers from getting emergency help.
Smash-and-grab means smashing the load barrier to grab a truck’s load while on pit stops and travel. Robbers will try to smash the back door or side panels of a trailer to push through with robbing the truck of its load. Afterward, they can make a quick getaway without the truck driver noticing it. Again, when truck drivers sense the theft, violence is bound to happen.
How Can You Protect Yourself on the Road?
There are several ways to protect yourself on the road. First, you always have to be aware of your surroundings, especially when you are in dangerous areas in pit stops at night. Second, always secure yourself and the load inside the truck before going to sleep. Besides locks, you can use the seat belt to hold the doors in place. Third, always have a long flashlight handy while walking in between trucks at night. The flashlight can serve both as a guide and a weapon. You can also use a hammer, screwdriver, tire thumper, wasp spray, and wrench to protect yourself. Last, you can carry a gun with necessary license and permit to serve as personal protection.
Gun Laws for Truck Drivers
In general, there are no federal regulations that limit carrying a gun in commercial vehicles. So, truck drivers are allowed to carry guns in their trucks during travels. The 2nd Amendment of the American constitution serves as the legal basis for the “right of the people to keep and bear arms.” But truck drivers should take note that each state has different laws when it comes to carrying firearms, which cover guns. Gun control is one of the most divisive elements of politics in the U.S. government. So, the law for each state may be very confusing.
No state requires a permit for carrying shotguns and rifles. Though Massachusetts and New Jersey require people carrying a shotgun or a rifle to bring along an I.D. or firearm identification. When it comes to other types of guns, two types of authorization papers may be needed:
- A concealed weapons and firearm license (CWFL)
- An open carry of a gun permit
Truck drivers should have a CWFL to be able to carry one during their travel. With a CWFL, the gun or weapon should not be displayed in public. Truck drivers can place them on their bags, center console, closed container, glove box, gun case, under the seat, etc.
The District of Columbia, together with 5 other states, prohibits carrying handguns in public. The other 5 states are:
- New York
- South Carolina
Although New York and South Carolina allow the open carrying of long guns.
15 states require an open carry permit to allow carrying handguns in public. These are:
- Iowa (for carrying in city limits)
- New Jersey
- Rhode Island
Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New Jersey prohibit carrying long guns in public but allow carrying handguns as long as there is an open carry permit.
Truck drivers should also note that guns are not allowed in specific locations of every state. These include:
- Capitol building
- Federal facilities
- Places where alcohol is served
- Post offices
- Public transportation
- Military camps and facilities
- State-owned businesses
Indeed, truck driving is a risky occupation. But it’s not only guns that can protect you as a truck driver. It’s your attitude and mental alertness that will keep you safe in all life’s journey!
To learn more safety tips when driving, we recommend the following articles:
- Truck Driving Hazards And How To Avoid Them
- 8 Most Dangerous Places for Truck Driving in the United States
- Safety Tips You Should Know Before Driving Your Dump Truck